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Contemporary British Fiction


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6

Module description

This course will pursue key aspects of the fiction produced in Britain since 1979. We will look at the forms of fiction (the different forms and styles adopted), and also consider the political and cultural contexts to which texts respond. We will look at some of the most prominent authors of the era. However, the course cannot be exhaustive or definitive - part of the problem of studying recent fiction. We will try to orient ourselves by looking at four thematics across the two terms of the course.

Indicative module syllabus

Block 1

  • 1980s: Martin Amis, Money
  • 1990s: Zadie Smith, White Teeth
  • 2000s: Gordon Burn, Born Yesterday: The Novel as News

Block 2

  • Pat Barker, Regeneration
  • A S Byatt, Possession
  • Michele Roberts, Daughters of the House
  • W G Sebald, The Emigrants
  • Graham Swift, Waterland

Some of these books are lengthy: try to get ahead by reading in the summer.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • been introduced to literature since 1979
  • addressed questions of how literature approaches 'contemporary' issues
  • an understanding of contemporary literature through historical, aesthetic and theoretical frameworks.